Meeting new people online can be intimidating, especially if it’s unfamiliar territory. Understanding all the nuances of digital communication can lead to meaningful relationships and lifelong friends. Still, you have to know what to look out for, which warning signs to avoid, and where you can find reliable opportunities.
If you want to meet new people, explore like-minded communities, or simply need a few ways to stay in touch with friends, there are plenty of app strategies to explore. With that in mind, read on to find eight essential insights for finding social connections in a digital world.
Finding shared interests
Finding individuals or groups that share the same interests as you is a lot easier than it used to be. All you need to form a connection is to jump on a social media platform, search for the types of things you enjoy, and follow the content creators you relate to.
For example, let’s say you’re interested in a sport like a football or hockey. All you have to do is look up that sport on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and start following the people who post regularly. This will give you the opportunity to connect through shared interests.
Online forums come in all shapes and sizes. No matter how niche a hobby may be, you’re guaranteed to find at least one group of people online who share an equal passion for that pastime. However, you still have to interact with others to develop a significant bond.
In the same way, that group members will post and discuss content, you have to be willing to engage in open discussion by being a contributing participant. Try to find groups that are in your area, as it makes meeting offline a lot less complicated.
Did you know that there are now friend dating apps? Instead of looking for true love, you can find platonic passion by using revolutionary networking apps like Meetup, Bumble BFF, and MeetMe.
Simply create a profile and you’ll be finding connections in no time. Each app tends to use a different strategy to bring people together. Some are based on your location or lifestyle, while others focus on specific criteria, such as being a parent or a pet owner.
Social video games
Video games are incredibly popular nowadays. Games with cooperative play and multiplayer are designed with the interaction between players in mind, and there’s nothing better than working towards a common goal for the sparks of friendship to start flying.
The one rule you can rely on is that all different types of people play video games. Most gamers will be in the same boat as you, but some will rub you the wrong way for multiple reasons. Avoid engaging with rude individuals and you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
Breaking the ice
Finding people who you can connect with is the easy part. The challenge is developing lasting friendships. True friendship rarely happens overnight, and you need to risk rejection if you’re looking for something more than an exchange of greetings.
Much like the real world, you have to ask the right questions, show that you’re listening to the other person, and display a desire to get to know them better. In other words, you need to have proficient social skills, which can only be mastered through learning and practice.
Increase your odds
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the risk of rejection, and learning how to deal with it will make your search for friendship far less torturous. Think of breaking the ice as rolling the dice; you can’t control the outcome, and you can’t control how a person reacts either.
Instead of focusing your efforts on one person or group of people, try to expand your horizons and connect with as many people as possible. You’ll have a far greater chance of meeting someone if your options aren’t too limited.
Stay safe and aware
From catfishing to “groundhogging”, the internet contains more than enough trouble to feed feelings of paranoia and anxiety. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the risk to put yourself out there for the sake of friendship.
If you keep your personal information secure at all times, there’s no reason why you can’t interact freely with others. Make sure you have security software installed, tell someone where you’re going if you’re meeting offline, and stop interacting if it’s uncomfortable.
Be a good listener
The key to any good relationship is mutual respect. That only comes through honest conversation, a safe environment, and a stable dynamic. You have to be a skilled listener to look out for these positive signs; the earlier you can pick up on them the better.
By paying attention to how the other person communicates and reacts, you can judge the likelihood of a friendship relatively early on. Be yourself, and as long as your potential friend does the same, you can make a friend or move on to the next person with no regrets and minimal fuss.